Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Joe Maddon Was Never Going to be the Dodger Manager

Jon Heyman at CBS Sports broke some big MLB news just a moment ago.  He has reported on twitter that the Cubs will hire Joe Maddon to be their next manager.

Per Heyman's story at CBS Sports:
The Cubs deny that a deal is done, but people familiar with the dealings say that it is certain to be completed in coming days, and that Maddon would indeed be the next Cubs manager.

The contract, once finalized, is expected to make Maddon one of the highest-paid managers in baseball and quite likely the best-paid in the National League. Mike Scioscia's Angels deal pays him $5 million annually, so he sets the standard.
I would expect, keeping Bud Selig's desire to keep the games focus on the World Series in mind, that any announcement will come later this week or early next.

BTW, It should come as no surprise that the Dodgers were not a part of any discussions with Maddon.  After all, the team had stated emphatically that a managerial change was not being considered and that Don Mattingly would be our skipper for the immediate future. 

When you also consider that relationships and maintaining good contacts within the upper echelons of the MLB is just as important as smarts, you come away with a better understanding that there was no way Maddon would be wearing Dodger Blue in 2015.

After all, by all accounts Andrew Friedman left Tampa Bay on the best of terms, and he would likely want to continue a positive working relationship with his former bosses and colleagues.  So, muddying the waters by going after Joe, when everyone will suspect tampering (back-stabbing, if you will), would be an unnecessary stain on the start of his leadership as President of Baseball Operations.

In other words, if he wants to succeed in his new position with the Dodgers by making certain on-field changes then he'll need not only the cooperation of folks within the franchise, but the help of other team executives to get things done.  If he burns his bridges with the Rays then it could potentially make it that much harder to find cooperative trade partners in the immediate future since his 'word' would be less trustworthy.

That's just my two cents.

UPDATE:  I think the below sentence from a story a couple of weeks ago by Tampa Bay Times reporter Marc Topkin further emphasizes the point that Maddon was likely never approached by Friedman or the Dodgers.
While principal owner Stuart Sternberg said no Rays baseball operations staffers would be joining the Dodgers, Friedman said that could change in time, but "I'm not looking to hurt the Tampa Bay Rays."

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: DODGERFEST!

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


This is the big Dodger signing event of the winter.  Frank & Sons in the City of Industry is hosting DODGERFEST this coming Saturday, and a whole bunch of former Dodger players will be there.  Check out the flyer below.  You can also go here or here for more information.  The first link for Hall of Fame sports includes prices and appearance times for all of the players.  Go here for that.  BTW, there are a handful of Baseball/sports card and memorabilia dealers at this show, so there is plenty to do. 

If you do attend I suggest getting there very early.  Parking availability at this facility is horrible... Like really horrible... Like so bad it always makes me think twice about attending events there.
Frank & Son Collectible Show
19649 E. San Jose Ave.
City of Industry, CA. 91748

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 10/29/2014 - Dodger Links - Howard for Hodges, Tommy Davis and GO ROYALS!

Lexi knows what's up!  If she can do it twice, so can you.  This photo was shared on twitter by @MLBFanCave and came via @kc85wilson on twitter, and it's the greatest thing I've seen on twitter in a long time.  Go Royals Go!

As you know Game 7 of the World Series is tonight, and if your not paying attention to it then you're missing out.  This is the kind of event all sports fans dream of.  After 162 game season, a wild card game, two playoff league series and six games in the finals we are down to just one more game.  It's THE final game of the year and I suspect both teams will leave everything they've got on the field. 

Mike Oz at Big League Stew tells us about the "Seven of the most memorable World Series Game 7s in baseball history" that is definitely worth checking out before tonight's game.  If I had to choose the best of the seven I'd go with the Sandy Koufax's shutout against the Twins in the 1965 series - obviously. 

Below are some more links to check out:
“I tell everybody I was a Bible hitter,” Davis said. “When they say, ‘What does that mean, I’d say, ‘Thou shalt not pass. The first pitch is coming, I’m swinging.’”
  • Cary also tells us about the historical connections between the Dodgers and the Lakers/NBA.  I'm surprised to learn how many NBA players were once a part of the Dodger system.
  • Dodger owner/partner Peter Gruber shares a video on twitter that tells us a bit about the value of player analytics to the Dodgers:

  • Topps is now getting into limited edition apparel.  They are now offering a 1988 Dodgers 'Miracle Men' Orel Hershiser patch Baseball cap limited to just 99copies for $39.99.  Check it out here.  See a pic of it on the right.  Limited edition patch caps also exist for Reggie Jackson, Alan Trammel, Willie Stargell, Gary Carter, Rollie Fingers and Ryne Sandberg.
  • I've got mad respect for Blazer's Edge.  (Hat Tip via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA)
  • Via Joe Posnanski at NBC Sports, "Vanguard after the Revolution: Bill James sparked a baseball insurrection, but he has regrets about the world he wrought." 
He groans whenever he hears people discount leadership or team chemistry or heart because they cannot find such things in the data. He has done this himself in the past … and regrets it.

“I have to take my share of responsibility for promoting skepticism about things that I didn’t understand as well as I might have,” he says. “What I would say NOW is that skepticism should be directed at things that are actually untrue rather than things that are difficult to measure.

“Leadership is one player having an effect on his teammates. There is nothing about that that should invite skepticism. People have an effect on one another in every area of life. … We all affect another’s work. You just can’t really measure that in an individual-accounting framework.”
  • BTW, for the third season in a row Anaheim Angels slugger Mike Trout won the 2014 Stan Musial Award from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  In the National League Clayton Kershaw won the award.  The Stan Musial Award recognizes the MVP in each league. I had picked Kershaw on my National League ballot.  Go here to see who were my picks for the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) Post Season Awards.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Take a Look at Some Vintage Dodger Goodies at Hake's Auctions

Hunt's isn't the only auction house running a big auction right now.  Hake's Americana & Collectibles has just opened up their 213th major auction this week and it includes some great vintage Dodger memorabilia.  Here are some of my favorites.

Below is a pinback you just don't see very often.  Here is a circa 1940's-50's Montreal Royals pin (designated PM10) complete with ribbons and a white celluloid ball charm.  As you know, the Royals were the Brooklyn Dodgers main farm club and the place where Jackie Robinson got his start within the Dodger franchise.
(Auction Link)

Speaking of Jackie Robinson, below is a vintage press photo, circa 1945, of him in a Kansas City Monarchs uniform.  This is an original Sporting News photograph. 
(Auction Link)

The below grouping of vintage photographs is absolutely incredible, and I would do almost anything to have a chance to get a closer look at them all.  This auction item includes 50 different 5"x7" original Brooklyn Superbas photographs from ”Spooner & Wells, Inc. Photographers” out of New York City.  They date from 1908 to 1910 and feature some great background shots of old stadiums; including the Dodgers old home at Washington Park II.

Of all the photos they share in the auction listing I most fascinated with two photos showing a haphazardly-looking wooden fence in the background shown directly below.  Where could those photos possibly have been taken?  I would really love to know.
(Auction Link)

(Auction Link)

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

So, Why Did Logan White Leave?

Logan White leaving for the southern pastures of San Diego sure has been a shock to the system.  He had been a wizard in the scouting front office and a legend in the minds of prospect-minded Dodger fans.  So, his departure has been seen as a huge loss for the franchise. 

As I'm sure most had hoped (myself included), the combination of the Dodgers newest hire Andrew Friendman and Logan White working together appeared to be a fantastic 1-2 punch.  After all, continuity within the Dodger ranks was a major theme for Friendman during his recent press conference and one would think that this meant he wanted to retain the experience and know-how of a person like Logan White.

Unfortunately, it takes two to tango and we are left wondering what drove Logan away. 

Was it a potentially diminishing role within the club?  Did Logan find the prospect of a two headed dragon at the scouting helm unappealing?  Was the talk of continuity by Friendman just a smoke screen, and he was actually pushed out?  Or did Logan just want to experience something different - a new challenge maybe?

Only Logan White knows the true answer.  Thankfully, though, through the wonder of twitter we get a slight glimpse at his frame of mind from some established reporters.  Check out what has been shared online since White's announced departure yesterday.  

Dodger Talk host David Vassegh spoke with White and shared that personal relationships within the Padres franchise was a motivating factor:

This sentiment was echoed by OC Register reporter Bill Plunkett:

In fact, Plunkett goes further by commenting that a change in role with the Dodgers was not a major concern. 

And that both Freidman and Kasten had been stand-up throughout this process, via David Vassegh on twitter:

Eric Stephen at True Blue LA on twitter likely got to the gist of the matter.  Logan would have an expanding role with the Padres:

While at the same time, Andrew Friendman would have an opportunity to build the club without his interference.  As Bill Plunkett noted, Friedman will now have a chance to make a huge mark on the Dodgers.

Ultimately, I guess it was too much to believe that the dream team of White/Friedman could last.  They would eventually butt heads (if they hadn't already), and I'm sure Logan understood that his capacity to exert influence had naturally diminished.  This was Andrew Friedman's team now and he had every right to lead it in the direction that he saw fit.  For better or worse, the Dodgers are no longer the club that existed just a couple of years ago.  They are reborn and all we can do is hope that these changes to the front office lead to success in the future.

Pic at the very top via Ben Platt/LA Dodgers - June 2006

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 10/28/2014 - Dodger Links - Some Odds and Ends

On this date in 1981 the Dodgers defeated the NY Yankees in Game 6 of the World Series.  They won their 5th franchise championship.  Above is a photo of their celebration, via @Dodgers_History on twitter.  As you can see, Steve Howe was on the mound to earn his first save of the series and his only playoff save of his career.  Also shown is eventual World Series co-MVP's Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager.  Along with third baseman Ron Cey and outfielder Pedro Guerrero they represented an offensive triumvirate that powered the Dodgers to victory.  BTW, this was the first time ever (and only time) three players were named co-MVP's for a World Series.

Below are some links to check out:
Seager has been named to the West Division roster for the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game
I understand that since 2008, the Dodgers’ drafts haven’t produced much in the way of even decent players, but with White’s responsibilities as AGM and McCourt’s refusal to put money into player development and scouting, there was only so much he could do. It’s no coincidence that since 2012 (you know, when Guggenheim took over), the Dodgers have been exceedingly active in the international market and have drafted some players with high ceilings — the way it used to be when White first started with the Dodgers.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Vintage Brooklyn Squeak Toy - Rempel's HoJo the Dodger 'Bum'

I can finally say that I've got HoJo the Brooklyn Dodger 'Bum' in my collection.

Featured here is a circa 1940's-1950's plastic squeak toy manufactured by Rempel Manufacturing, Inc.  The company was founded in 1946 by Dietrich Gustav Rempel, a Russian immigrant, and was based in Akron, Ohio.  As you may have noticed in the photo below, the name Fred G. Reinert is imprinted on the reverse of the toy.  Reinert was the artist who designed the toy for Rempel Manufacturing.

This specific toy was named 'HoJo' - as indicated on its original packaging (not shown here).  From what I understand, Rempel did not specifically make this squeak toy for the Dodgers and its fans (it was not a licensed toy), but fans identified with it for obvious reasons.  As you may know, the Brooklyn faithful called the the Dodgers their 'Bums,' and the classic 'Bum' image was further marketed by the artwork of newspaper sports cartoonist Willard Mullin.

BTW, Rempel also made a very un-PC plastic squeak toy of an Indian (Native American) that looks a lot like Cleveland's Chief Wahoo.  That toy was also not made specifically for Cleveland fans, but has been closely identified with the club for the same reason as the 'HoJo' toy. 

The 'HoJo' toy was produced over a number of years and variations exist in both color and reverse stampings.  Unfortunately, I do not have a clue as to what colors or markings are more scarce.  So, if you have some insight into that please let me know.  My 'HoJo' toy is wearing a black tuxedo jacket with white vest.  A 'HoJo' in green pants with a yellow vest also exist.

These toys can range in values depending on condition and rarity.  I purchased my 'HoJo' for the rock-bottom price of $22 delivered - which ain't too bad considering its condition.  Much cleaner versions can sell for a couple hundred dollars, or more if included with the original packaging.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Some Dodger Art at Hunt Auctions - Koufax, Drysdale and Fazzino's 'Ebbets Field of Dreams'

Hunt Auctions is going to have a very busy November.  Not only are they running their regular internet/phone auction (that I feature in this post), but they also have their 11th Annual Live Auction at Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory concluding in November.  I'll talk a bit about the Louisville Slugger Museum later this week.  For now, let's take a look at some interesting Dodger artwork available through their internet/phone auction.

Below are a couple of 'folk-art' handmade marionettes of Dodger players.  They are 15" tall.  Who made them and when they were made is not known.  All I do know is that it's unique and would look great in a vintage Dodger display case.  Check out the auction here.
(Auction Link)

Below are a couple of hand-painted baseball by an artist named Gary Guerra.  I am not familiar with Mr. Guerra, but he does some great work.  As you can see he borrows a style reminiscent of legendary Baseball 'folk-artist' George Sosnak and artist Monty Sheldon.  Below is a Sandy Koufax ball.
(Auction Link)

And here is a Don Drysdale ball.
(Auction Link)

This is fantastic.  American pop artist Charles Fazzino created this 3-D piece entitled 'Ebbets Field of Dreams.'  It is a silkscreen serigraph, measures 16" x 11" (27" x 23" framed) and is numbered "86/400DX".  Check out the auction here.  You can also check out his website here.  Fazzino also has a piece for Dodger Stadium called 'Go Dodger Blue' that is worth checking out.
(Auction Link)

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 10/27/2014 - Dodger Links - Logan White is Leaving Dodgers

Stay tuned.  Puig recently announced on his instagram that newly created Puig signature caps will be soon available on his website.  His website is here.

Below are some links to check out:
One way or another, a Dodger outfielder is moving. Maybe it’s Van Slyke, though that wouldn’t really free up much room. Maybe it’s Puig in some kind of massive deal, though that seems unlikely. Kemp’s second-half surge probably keeps him in the heart of the lineup. Carl Crawford could go, though he’s only mildly more valuable than Ethier is. Most likely, Ethier is going in a deal that sees the Dodgers A) eat 90% of his contract B) take on someone else’s problem or C) both.

  • Old friend alert!  Former Dodger infielder Justin Sellers is now a Pirate, via @Pirates on twitter.
  • Dodger pitching prospect Danny Coulombe recently celebrated an Avengers birthday, via his twitter.  Happy Birthday, Danny!

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Templates for Halloween Carving Dodger Fans

With Halloween less than a week away there's no better time than now to get your carving on.  The Dodgers helpfully provide some templates on their website, here.  Below are pics of those plus a couple of more from previous years to help you make the best jack-o'-lantern's on your block.  Click on any pic to embiggen and a .pdf download link is provided in the caption.

(pdf download link)

(pdf download link)

(pdf download link)

(pdf download link)

(pdf download link)

(pdf download link)

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...